First off, I hope all our valued patients and the communities we serve are well and safe, and have plenty of toilet paper!
The biggest news here is that Immediate Care West is up and running with our own telemedicine. So while it may be disappointing to not be able to just walk in anytime, at least we can get you connected to see Bethany, Tom or me rather than a random doctor in another state. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Some people have a little trouble with the initial connection, but once they are done they love it and don't want to go back to "the old way." We have even taken care of people from their cars in the parking lot at Medical Center West!
I think there will always be a need for direct face-to-face care, but telemedicine is demonstrating it's value in improving access to care in a time of need and therefore is here to stay.
With that in mind, here are a few tips:
1. Android and Apple smartphones and tablets are simple and work great!
You don't need a supercomputer to do video visits. Tablets and smartphones with a "selfie camera" are fine, and actually better to be able to move the camera around to help visual diagnosis.
2. Make sure your device is up to date and permissions are set correctly.
One of the more frequent issues is a patient's device is out of date. Make sure you have the latest operating system installed and the newest version for the app to be used. We use Doxy.me and Medent for our video visits. Both are web-based, meaning they don't require a special app. However, they work best with the Firefox Browser. That link is to the computer version, but it is also available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You should probably be using FIrefox over Chrome or Safari anyway, so if you don't have it I recommend installing it before scheduling a video visit. Then make sure you allow FIrefox to use your camera, microphone and speaker.
3. No internet, no problem!
As long as you have a decent signal, mobile data speeds are fine for video visits. Doxy.me in particular excels with slower data speeds. If you don't have mobile data, most libraries in the area are keeping their hotspots on, including Maxwell Library right around the corner from us.
4. We are still here for you!
We miss you, and hope we can see you soon and continue to provide excellent care. We are still here for cuts, tick bites, and other injuries. For everyone's safety and health, please call first and we can come up with a game plan to get you the care you need. We probably won't be guiding you through stitching your own cut any time soon, but you would be surprised by what we can handle by video. This week I even managed an orthopedic injury without ever touching the patient: video visit, guided exam, ordered the xray, and reviewed the result and a follow-up plan with the patient.
Hopefully soon we will have flattened the curve, but I don't think it will go completely back to business as usual. So take a little time to familiarize yourself with video chat.
Wash you hands!